Achieving giant electrostrain of above 1% in (Bi,Na)TiO3-based lead-free piezoelectrics via introducing oxygen-defect composition
Piezoelectric ceramics have been extensively used in actuators, where the magnitude of electrostrain is key indicator for large-stroke actuation applications. Here, we propose an innovative strategy based on defect chemistry to form a defect-engineered morphotropic phase boundary and achieve a giant strain of 1.12% in lead-free Bi0.5Na0.5TiO3 (BNT)-based ceramics. The incorporation of the hypothetical perovskite BaAlO2.5 with nominal oxygen defect into BNT will form strongly polarized directional defect dipoles, leading to a strong pinning effect after aging. The large asymmetrical strain is mainly attributed to two factors: The defect dipoles along crystallographic  direction destroy the long-range ordering of the ferroelectric and activate a reversible phase transition while promoting polarization rotation when the dipoles are aligned along the applied electric field. Our results not only demonstrate the potential application of BNT-based materials in low-frequency, largestroke actuators but also provide a general methodology to achieve large strain.
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U.S. Department of Energy